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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ant Struggles Are Real



I read Thoreau's essay ant war in high school, or maybe it was first year composition in college— more than a few years ago—but the essay topic was sticky enough that throughout my adulthood I have stopped and watched ants whenever opportunity and time presented themselves. 

I had a happy confluence of both on a walk yesterday. I came upon many ants, Harvester ants, huddled around the hole with a few busily scurrying in and out carrying small pebbles.

I don't know what the huddlers were doing (beyond huddling, though I doubt that is the proper ant behavior term), nor why. I suspect it had something to do with this being early days of ant activity and just coming out of whatever dormant state they enter during the winter.

The huddlers while interesting were not as interesting as this stalwart little ant in the video who was determined to cut down a sprout of vegetation. Harvester ants clear the areas around their holes of any vegetation and I imagine this ant was tasked by genetics and instinct with removing the offending greenery. 

While perhaps not as dramatic as an ant war, you can see the struggle is real for this ant. I didn't stay long enough to see which prevailed-ant or plant-or assuming the ant prevailed how it actually played out. I will return to the nest to get a literal on-the-ground update.